Aside from my abundant issues with the mythic + weekly cache (now the Great Vault), I’d like to share some thoughts on what running keys might be like in the upcoming expansion. Keep in mind, this is coming from someone who hasn’t gotten beta access, so I’m basing my thoughts off the announced changes. Areas of consideration are the dungeons themselves, covenants, new affixes, the aoe cap, and…
Unfortunately, for this I cannot speak from my own experience, however, most streamers and youtubers I’ve watched say very positive things about the dungeons. Visually, from what I have seen, they look amazing.
So… this one seems a little troubling. It’s been recently confirmed that each dungeon, including m+, has a bonus that only a member of an individual covenant can provide. These include giving 25% haste for 3 minutes at a time. While some argue that this provides more flavor for the covenants, it seems to me that it becomes another reason for exclusion. If you’re not Necrolord, don’t expect go to the Plaguefall dungeon if it’s not your key. Of course, how truly large of an issue depends on dungeon tuning. If the dungeon is balanced around NOT having the buff, it technically shouldn’t be an issue… except it will.
Particularly at the high end, players gravitate towards what is optimal. A 20+ key is basically not going to be run without the right covenant in the group. Now, while this only matters more when being fully optimal starts to matter, the mind set tends to filter all the way to casual content. I know perfectly competent feral druids that have decent IO scores and can easily pull their own weight have massive trouble getting into a +15, because druids are “bad”. Pushing your own key only goes so far, given certain weeks and certain keys are non-starters.
It just feels that for a game where we’re supposed to “bring the player, not the class”, as Blizzard loves to say, we shouldn’t be making a system that directly states “don’t bring that player, bring that covenant.”
New Season Affix & Other Changes
Prideful, the new season affix, looks very cool. Every 20% of trash count spawns a large add that, when killed, gives a buff to damage, mana regen, and movement speed. Should be fun to see what ways that can be used in each dungeon. The regular rotating affixes mostly have seen some changes as well. The changes might increase the scaling difficulty a little but overall provide some quality of life bits.
The Area of Effect Cap:
Overall, this is a bad change. I think I understand the rationale behind it. Blizzard wants to reduce the “pull everything and mongo AoE it down” strategy that is used for dungeons and visions and world quests and whatever else they try to send at us. Also, it helps bring classes with easy uncapped AoE down in line with those who can either only cleave or who can’t spam that area damage.
But. Isn’t it more fun to be able to do those big pulls? Admittedly, my normal groups mostly don’t. We maybe get 1-3 big pulls per dungeon (nothing MDI level) to see those fun massive numbers and otherwise most packs don’t allow for that without a fairly high skill level. It won’t, for me and most, change the usual play in any drastic way. But… it does likely take those random bits of huge burst out. Those parts that, for many, are the highlight of the dungeon. And doing a big pull when most aoe is limited to 5 targets just doesn’t have the same affect. Risk without reward.
It shouldn’t be detrimental to normal play, but a better solution could have been to tone down the outliers (unholy DK), give a little to whomever was significantly lacking, and carry on as was.
Mythic Dungeon Invitational
So, while limiting aoe isn’t massive for normal players and dungeons… is it maybe more significant to the MDI? The MDI, generally being known for creative tactics and massive pulls. Unless the large pulls are worthwhile anyway to cleave down 5 at a time, those big fun moments might go away. This wouldn’t necessarily affect the skill it takes to get there, but it could easily make the viewing experience much less interesting. If that happens, it’s bad for the viewer, the player, and Blizzard. New expansions are a time for bigger balance changes than during patches. But again, maybe just a retuning and rebalancing of current aoe scopes were needed, not a rework of the system.
Of course, it could easily be much less impactful than I imagine… and if so – great. I enjoy mythic+ and the MDI and I’d rather it was all roses.
Generally, I think running the dungeons and experiencing the affixes will be a good experience, even with the nerfs to aoe. I’m worried about the social aspects of the covenant bonuses, along with balancing in that regard, but it will probably just make pugs even more toxic and doubly reward playing with premade groups. I do believe that the developers should shy away from changes that encouraging a requirement of something a player is unable to change as needed, but, we probably won’t see this change removed entirely, just maybe tuned down so the covenant bonus never feels mandatory. If they can do that, then mythic+ should be in a very good place going into Shadowlands.